Our Story

An Invitation to Share Our Vision

At Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary we have a vision…
It is of a serene place where Farm Animals who have suffered abuse, neglect, abandonment, or are at risk can live out the remainder of their lives in peace. A place where Farm Animals with special needs will get the care, love and attention that they deserve. A new home for those who’s family can no longer care for them due to extreme health circumstances, age or disability. A loving forever home where each animal will be cared for and all their needs will be met.

We strive to provide a loving, caring and compassionate environment where each animal will be appreciated, respected and loved for who they are…unconditionally.
A place where their physical, mental, emotional and social needs will be met.
A place of healing and transformation, not just for the animals, but also for those who volunteer their time, talent and service to help care for them and the sanctuary.
A place where people can go and spend quiet time to experience the healing nature of these beautiful creatures. We aspire to have programs in the future for people with special needs, children, our veterans, the elderly, those who are suffering with PTSD, depression, loneliness or who just want to surround themselves within the peaceful atmosphere that Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary provides. A place of learning, not only about the animals, but also about ourselves.

We believe that through helping the animals, they in return can help us heal. They can bless us with purpose and their gentle energy can soothe us. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of these precious animals and in the lives of people and our community.

YOU are invited to share our vision!

An Invitation to Share Our Vision

At Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary we have a vision…
It is of a serene place where Farm Animals who have suffered abuse, neglect, abandonment, or are at risk can live out the remainder of their lives in peace.
A place where Farm Animals with special needs will get the care, love and attention that they deserve. A new home for those who’s family can no longer care for them due to extreme health circumstances, age or disability. A loving forever home where each animal will be cared for and all their needs will be met.

We strive to provide a loving, caring and compassionate environment where each animal will be appreciated, respected and loved for who they are…unconditionally. A place where their physical, mental, emotional and social needs will be met. A place of healing and transformation, not just for the animals, but also for those who volunteer their time, talent and service to help care for them and the sanctuary. A place where people can go and spend quiet time to experience the healing nature of these beautiful creatures. We aspire to have programs in the future for people with special needs, children, our veterans, the elderly, those who are suffering with PTSD, depression, loneliness or who just want to surround themselves within the peaceful atmosphere that Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary provides. A place of learning, not only about the animals, but also about ourselves.

We believe that through helping the animals, they in return can help us heal. They can bless us with purpose and their gentle energy can soothe us. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of these precious animals and in the lives of people and our community.

YOU are invited to share our vision!

Our Team

Julie Sifter

Founder

Julianna Sifter is the Founder and current President of Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc.also known as GHASi. Julianna is a life renewed after having battled Major Depressive Disorder most of her adult life. Though deeply loved by family and friends, she attempted to end her own life in November of 2017 at the age of 52. A message spoke to her spirit, “You are not done yet. There is something great you are going to do. You have to go back.” Wakening to the experience in the ICU, her first thoughts were not rooted in gratitude for having survived. She was filled with anger, fear and despair longing only for relief from her troubled mind and heart.

It wasn’t an easy path, but in the months that followed her mental, emotional and physical recovery, Julie found herself sensing a different kind of healing within. When her son found one of the feral neighborhood cats that they had been caring for and four tiny kittens in their flower bed, Julie couldn’t help but try to save them. The kittens ran up into the car engine and though it took many hours of patience, determination, kitty scratches and bites to get them out she did not give up. Through this act she realized a new purpose. This was the beginning of her vision coming into clear focus. Julie has always had a great love for animals and animals seemed to gravitate towards her naturally. Giving credit to her parents for nurturing that part of her, Julie soon realized that the calling she was given was to be focused around this God given gift. Unsure of the path that lay before her, Julie set out to see the fulfillment of this calling: seeking out and rescuing animals at risk.

Julie has fought her way back to a heart full of gratitude, with a sense of purpose and real joy! One step at a time, she realized the creation of the non-profit organization she chose to name
Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, reflecting the gratitude she now feels. Her faith in her calling has helped her to overcome challenges and given her the strength to keep moving forward. With the support of family and friends, the grace of God and her own determination to honor the calling to give animals a loving home, a few humble acres have been secured where she can give them refuge, love and care. Crediting her motivation and passion for this calling to the message that touched her spirit, Julie extends an invitation to others to find purpose and experience the healing power of caring for animals at the sanctuary.

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1466797301235

Julie Sifter

Founder

Julianna Sifter is the Founder and current President of Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc. also known as GHASi.
Julianna is a life renewed after having battled Major Depressive Disorder most of her adult life. Though deeply loved by family and friends, she attempted to end her own life in November of 2017 at the age of 52. A message spoke to her spirit, “You are not done yet. There is something great you are going to do. You have to go back.” Wakening to the experience in the ICU, her first thoughts were not rooted in gratitude for having survived. She was filled with anger, fear and despair longing only for relief from her troubled mind and heart.

It wasn’t an easy path, but in the months that followed her mental, emotional and physical recovery, Julie found herself sensing a different kind of healing within. When her son found one of the feral neighborhood cats that they had been caring for and four tiny kittens in their flower bed, Julie couldn’t help but try to save them. The kittens ran up into the car engine and though it took many hours of patience, determination, kitty scratches and bites to get them out she did not give up. Through this act she realized a new purpose. This was the beginning of her vision coming into clear focus. Julie has always had a great love for animals and animals seemed to gravitate towards her naturally. Giving credit to her parents for nurturing that part of her, Julie soon realized that the calling she was given was to be focused around this God given gift. Unsure of the path that lay before her, Julie set out to see the fulfillment of this calling: seeking out and rescuing animals at risk.

Julie has fought her way back to a heart full of gratitude, with a sense of purpose and real joy! One step at a time, she realized the creation of the non-profit organization she chose to name Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, reflecting the gratitude she now feels. Her faith in her calling
has helped her to overcome challenges and given her the strength to keep moving forward. With the support of family and friends, the grace of God and her own determination to honor the calling to give animals a loving home, a few humble acres have been secured where she can give them refuge, love and care. Crediting her motivation and passion for this calling to the message that touched her spirit, Julie extends an invitation to others to find purpose and experience the healing power of caring for animals at the sanctuary.

MEET GHASi DIRECTOR JOHN BUCHANAN John Buchanan holds the position of Director within the Board of Directors for Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc. John owns the Flying F Ranch in Lucerne Valley, where he rehabs abandoned and/or neglected horses so they can be adopted out to good homes and resume a normal healthy life. He was a member of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District School Board from 2011-2015. He is currently a Board Member of Advanced K-9 Unit Support Corp. John has Certificates in Equine Artificial Insemination, Equine Health Evaluation and Equine Nutrition from Victor Valley College. John Buchanan and his wife have rescued a whole farm of animals that live happily on their ranch. This includes horses (including minis), burros, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, roosters, chickens, a cow, peacocks, dogs, cats, a raven and who knows what else! The Founder of GHASi, Julie Sifter, considers John her mentor, for obvious reasons.
MEET GHASi DIRECTOR JOHN BUCHANAN

John Buchanan holds the position of Director within the Board of Directors for Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc. John owns the Flying F Ranch in Lucerne Valley, where he rehabs abandoned and/or neglected horses so they can be adopted out to good homes and resume a normal healthy life. He was a member of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District School Board from 2011-2015. He is currently a Board Member of Advanced K-9 Unit Support Corp. John has Certificates in Equine Artificial Insemination, Equine Health Evaluation and Equine Nutrition from Victor Valley College. John Buchanan and his wife have rescued a whole farm of animals that live happily on their ranch. This includes horses (including minis), burros, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, roosters, chickens, a cow, peacocks, dogs, cats, a raven and who knows what else! The Founder of GHASi, Julie Sifter, considers John her mentor, for obvious reasons.
CATHY KARRER - R.V.T. (Registered Veterinary Technician) Cathy has been an R.V.T. Since 1991. She has primarily specialized in small animal emergency medicine, neurology, and orthopedics. She discovered our sanctuary this past summer and started volunteering along with her daughters. She became a Director on our Board of Directors shortly thereafter. Being a licensed technician enables her to treat our animals in need of medical assistance under the direction of our veterinarians. Cathy has been a resident of Big Bear since 2000. She spends most of her time enjoying our beautiful mountain with her husband and children. From snowboarding to wakeboarding or just peaceful nature walks through the forest, she enjoys everything this mountain has to offer. Caring for animals and children are by far her primary passions. We are blessed to have her on our team.
CATHY KARRER – R.V.T. (Registered Veterinary Technician)

Cathy has been an R.V.T. Since 1991. She has primarily specialized in small animal emergency medicine, neurology, and orthopedics. She discovered our sanctuary this past summer and started volunteering along with her daughters. She became a Director on our Board of Directors shortly thereafter. Being a licensed technician enables her to treat our animals in need of medical assistance under the direction of our veterinarians. Cathy has been a resident of Big Bear since 2000. She spends most of her time enjoying our beautiful mountain with her husband and children. From snowboarding to wakeboarding or just peaceful nature walks through the forest, she enjoys everything this mountain has to offer. Caring for animals and children are by far her primary passions. We are blessed to have her on our team.
MEET GHASi DIRECTOR JOHN BUCHANAN John Buchanan holds the position of Director within the Board of Directors for Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc. John owns the Flying F Ranch in Lucerne Valley, where he rehabs abandoned and/or neglected horses so they can be adopted out to good homes and resume a normal healthy life. He was a member of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District School Board from 2011-2015. He is currently a Board Member of Advanced K-9 Unit Support Corp. John has Certificates in Equine Artificial Insemination, Equine Health Evaluation and Equine Nutrition from Victor Valley College. John Buchanan and his wife have rescued a whole farm of animals that live happily on their ranch. This includes horses (including minis), burros, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, roosters, chickens, a cow, peacocks, dogs, cats, a raven and who knows what else! The Founder of GHASi, Julie Sifter, considers John her mentor, for obvious reasons.
MEET GHASi DIRECTOR JOHN BUCHANAN

John Buchanan holds the position of Director within the Board of Directors for Grateful Heart Animal Sanctuary, Inc. John owns the Flying F Ranch in Lucerne Valley, where he rehabs abandoned and/or neglected horses so they can be adopted out to good homes and resume a normal healthy life. He was a member of the Lucerne Valley Unified School District School Board from 2011-2015. He is currently a Board Member of Advanced K-9 Unit Support Corp. John has Certificates in Equine Artificial Insemination, Equine Health Evaluation and Equine Nutrition from Victor Valley College. John Buchanan and his wife have rescued a whole farm of animals that live happily on their ranch. This includes horses (including minis), burros, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, roosters, chickens, a cow, peacocks, dogs, cats, a raven and who knows what else! The Founder of GHASi, Julie Sifter, considers John her mentor, for obvious reasons.
CATHY KARRER - R.V.T. (Registered Veterinary Technician) Cathy has been an R.V.T. Since 1991. She has primarily specialized in small animal emergency medicine, neurology, and orthopedics. She discovered our sanctuary this past summer and started volunteering along with her daughters. She became a Director on our Board of Directors shortly thereafter. Being a licensed technician enables her to treat our animals in need of medical assistance under the direction of our veterinarians. Cathy has been a resident of Big Bear since 2000. She spends most of her time enjoying our beautiful mountain with her husband and children. From snowboarding to wakeboarding or just peaceful nature walks through the forest, she enjoys everything this mountain has to offer. Caring for animals and children are by far her primary passions. We are blessed to have her on our team.
CATHY KARRER – R.V.T. (Registered Veterinary Technician)

Cathy has been an R.V.T. Since 1991. She has primarily specialized in small animal emergency medicine, neurology, and orthopedics. She discovered our sanctuary this past summer and started volunteering along with her daughters. She became a Director on our Board of Directors shortly thereafter. Being a licensed technician enables her to treat our animals in need of medical assistance under the direction of our veterinarians. Cathy has been a resident of Big Bear since 2000. She spends most of her time enjoying our beautiful mountain with her husband and children. From snowboarding to wakeboarding or just peaceful nature walks through the forest, she enjoys everything this mountain has to offer. Caring for animals and children are by far her primary passions. We are blessed to have her on our team.